If your name is ***** ***** tenancy agreement then each tenant named on the agreement is jointly and severally liable for the full amount of the rent. If one person stops paying, the others pick up the tab for the person who is not paying.
A landlord would therefore chase the easiest target who are the other tenants who are still in the property. It depends where “home” is as to whether it’s then worth the landlord and the other students pursuing you.
From a landlord’s point of view you do have to continue to pay rent. From the student’s point of view, they are unreasonably refusing a new tenant and they actually have no right to do that. The landlord could refuse a new tenant if he didn’t think that new tenant was good for the rent.
However that doesn’t appear to be an issue because the problem here you say is the new students age. If you have anything saying that in an email so much the better. Otherwise it’s your word against theirs if they deny age being consideration.
Prior to 1 October 2012 age discrimination only applied in the workplace but since then amendments to the Equality act 2010 extended this ban to cover services (I think this comes under the heading of services), public functions and private clubs and associations. By doing this therefore they are in breach of the Act.
Can I clarify anything for you?
It does not matter whether it’s the other students the landlord that are doing this, it is still the provision of services.
If you stop paying the rent and if he keeps deposit in lieu of rent you have still breached the contract to pay rent.
If you take him to court to get the deposit back the judge may decide that the correct course of action for you was not to stop paying rent but was to apply to court for an injunction to prevent him discriminating. That is actually the correct remedy but it becomes far more convoluted, complicated and potentially expensive